September 12, 2006 - by
Seminole Volleyball Fights to the End But Drops 3-1 Decision To No. 6 Florida

Sept. 12, 2006


GAME SCORES: No. 6 Florida 3, Florida State 1 (26-30, 30-27, 24-30, 24-30)

Every year under head coach Todd Kress, the Florida State volleyball team keeps getting closer and closer to its instate rival Florida. The Seminoles made another step in the right direction Tuesday (September 12), but couldn’t pull off the upset as they fell 3-1 (26-30, 30-27, 24-30, 24-30) to the No. 6 Gators on Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gymnasium.

The Seminoles dropped to 6-3 while Florida improved to 7-1. The match was seen in front of 1,159 fans, the highest attendance for a Florida State home match since 1,215 fans came to the October 15, 2004 match with North Carolina.

Florida State has taken a game off the Gators in three of the four meetings during Kress’ tenure, equaling the number of games the Seminoles had won against the Gators in the previous 10 years. FSU is the only team in the ACC to play a pair of top 10 teams – along with No. 10 USC – and is the only team in the league to take a game off a top 10 program.

“We played well in game two and we came out of the locker room with the momentum, but we missed too many opportunities,” Kress said. “When you play against a team like Florida you have to take advantage of every opportunity you have and we just made too many mistakes.”

Four different Seminoles registered double-digit kills, led by junior outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) as she amassed 15. The best all-around game came from senior middle blocker Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) as she put up her second double-double of the year with 14 kills and 11 digs to go along with a team-best four blocks.

A pair of freshmen were next up as outside hitter Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) tallied 12 and middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) added 10. Setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) had 49 assists and libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) contributed 16 digs.

Defense was the difference in the game as Florida had eight more total blocks (13-to-5) and five more digs. As a result, the Gators hit .336 as a team to the Seminoles’ .194. Each team had ten aces, while Florida State committed 11 service errors to UF’s seven.

By far the best game for the Seminoles was the second set as they ran out to a 9-3 lead on an ace by Weissing. Four of FSU’s first nine points were aces as Tomic had a pair and Wessel contributed one, to go along with two kills from Griffin.

As to be expected, the Gators fought back and got their first lead at 15-14, which they expanded to 17-15. But a kill by Thompson triggered a four-point run that gave FSU the advantage back, 20-17, as Tomic’s left-handed served caused three UF errors. The Seminoles would hold the Gator at bay the rest of the match as they would not get closer than two points before a Thompson kill gave FSU the game, 30-27.

Wessel paced the way with five kills during the game as part of her .300 hitting percentage (5-2-10), while Barry, Thompson and Griffin chipped in three. FSU had a match-high .275 hitting percentage.

“They knew coming in that they are going to be a big part of our team and a lot of the time they play more like upperclassmen,” Kress said of the freshmen. “If we play with this same kind of effort consistently during the ACC season we can have some success.”

After a back and fourth start game one, Florida grabbed a 12-9 lead with three-straight points. Florida State fought back and with the help of two Griffin kills and a Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) ace, the Seminoles tied the match at 12-12. The Gators regained their three-point advantage (18-15) and held it for the remainder of the match – with a peak at five points (27-22) — as FSU could only get to within one (27-26) during a three-point run off Weissing’s serve.

Game three was the only one that Florida had complete control of as it erased an 8-6 Florida State lead with an 8-0 run. The Seminoles would stay with the Gators the rest of the way, but could not get the margin any lower than five as they dropped the game 30-24.

The final set was on track to be a repeat of game three as the Gators held a 17-9 lead at one point, but with their backs against the wall, FSU got itself back in the match. Wessel started the comeback with a pair of winners during a four-point run on Griffin’s serve. Three points later the rookie served up a pair of aces and Tomic added two kills to tie the match at 19-19. Florida responded by pushing its lead back to three (23-20) with Florida State only getting to within two (26-24) after a Griffin kill, but couldn’t complete the comeback as it lost 30-24.

The Seminoles are off for an entire week until they open up Atlantic Coast Conference play Tuesday (September 12) at Miami.

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